Saturday was the night for the British team on the seventh day of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Swimming European Championships. God Save The Queen, Britain’s national anthem, rang out five times as swimmers Oliver Hynd, Jonathan Fox, Susannah Rodgers, Rhiannon Henry and the women's Medley Relay team swam to victory.
Ukraine also consolidated their massive lead, winning six gold, six silver and three bronze medals.
In 26 medal events on Saturday evening, nine records were broken. In total 31 world and 28 European records have now been rewritten in Berlin.
The evening began with two brothers - Great Britain’s Oliver and Sam Hynd – battling it out in the Men’s 200m Individual Medley SM8. Younger brother Oliver was leading from the beginning to win gold (2:25.75) and take the world record from his older brother Sam (2:28.03), who got bronze. France’s Charles Rozoy (2:27.80) finished with a silver medal.
In the Women’s 200m Individual Medley SM8, British crowds went wild as Emma Hollis (2:59.46) finished second ahead of Germany’s Stefanie Weinberg (2:59.53) in a close battle for silver medal. But Russia’s European-record-holder Olesya Vladykina (2:46.39) dominated the race, finishing well ahead in pole position.
Ukraine’s European-record-holder Dmytro Vynohradets (3:32.81) also dominated the Men’s 200m Freestyle S3, coming first, well ahead of
Russia’s Andrey Meshcheryakov (3:48.87) and Spain’s Miguel Angel Martinez (3:54.65) who came second and third respectively.
In the Women’s 200m Freestyle S3, Ukraine’s Annke Sviderska (4:25.83) smashed the European record to take gold and her teammate Olena Istomina (4:35.27) took silver. Germany’s Annke Conradi (4:58.10) delighted home crowds by winning the bronze medal.
Spain’s David Levecq (57.63) smashed his own European record in the Men’s 100m Butterfly S10 to take gold. Close behind him was Russia’s Dmitry Grigorev (58.94) who took silver and the Netherlands’ Mike van der Zanden (59.50), who was third.
France’s European-record-holder Elodie Lorandi (1:09.86) powered to the finish line in the Women’s 100m Butterfly S10 to take gold. Behind her was one of the closest finishes of the competition so far with Spain’s Isabel Yinghua Hernandez (1:12.01) just having the edge over Poland’s Katarzyna Pawlik (1:12.04), who took bronze.
Great Britain’s world champion swimmer Jonathan Fox (1:03.83) swam to victory in the Men’s 100m Freestyle S7. He finished ahead of Germany’s Tobias Pollap (1:06.73), who took silver and Greece’s Nikolaos Tsotras (1:07.02), who won bronze.
The Women’s 100m Freestyle S7 was a bitter struggle between Germany’s European-record-holder Kirsten Bruhn (1:12.65) and newcomer Great Britain’s Susannah Rodgers (1:12.10), but in the end Rodger’s new talent prevailed and she took gold. Ukraine’s Ani Palian (1:12.66) won bronze.
Ukraine’s Maksym Veraksa (51.97), dubbed “the world’s fastest Paralympic swimmer” lived up to his reputation in the Men’s 100m Freestyle S12 to take gold. Russia’s Alexandr Nevolin-Svetov followed him in second place and Spain’s Omar Font took bronze.
Russia’s Oxana Savchenko (59.38) bettered her own world record by 0.09 seconds in the Women’s 100m Freestyle S12. Her teammate Darya Stukalova (1:00.28) came in second and Germany’s teenage star Naomi Maike Schnittger (1:02.49) was in bronze position.
The gold medal machine, Ukraine’s Yevheniy Bohodayko (1:05.89), won his eighth gold of the competition in the Men’s 100m Freestyle S6. Home crowds let out a roar of delight when Germany’s Sebastian Iwanow (1:07.22) came in second and Sweden’s world-record-holder Anders Olsson (1:05.89) finished in bronze position.
In the Women’s 100m Freestyle S6 horns were bellowing and crowds were screaming as the Netherlands’ Mirjam de Koning-Peper (1:16.21) and Great Britain’s world-record-holder Eleanor Simmonds (1:16.35) swam the race neck and neck. Crowds held their breath to watch the scoreboards, but Simmonds was beaten by just 0.14 seconds to take silver. Simmonds’ teammate Natalie Jones won the bronze medal.
France’s David Smetanine was leading the Men’s 200m Freestyle S4 on the second and third lengths, but on the home run Spain’s world-record-holder Richard Oribe (2:04.56) had the edge to take gold. Smetanine (3:07.55) finished second and the Czech Republic’s Jan Povysil (3:11.20) took bronze.
Greece’s world-record-holder Christos Tampaxis (1:23.51) powered to the finish line in the Men’s 50m Backstroke S1, winning his country’s first gold medal. He was well ahead of Portugal’s Joao Martins (1:36.05), who took silver, and Ukraine’s Oleksandr Golovko (1:46.24), who won bronze.
Russia’s Dmitry Kokarev (1:02.67) also smashed his own world record by half a second in the Men’s 50m Backstroke S2 to take gold. Greece’s Aristeidis Makrodimitris (1:04.75) took silver and Great Britain’s James Anderson (1:06.83) came third.
The Women’s 50m Backstroke S2 was a family affair for the Ukrainians, with the team taking all three medal positions. Ganna Ielisavetska (1:06.97) also smashed her own world record. Iryna Sotska (1:12.75) and Darya Kopayeva (1:16.25) took silver and bronze respectively.
Spain’s European-record-holder Sebastian Rodriguez (2:45.74) prevailed over his rival Great Britain’s Anthony Stephens (2:47.44) in the Men’s 200m Freestyle S5. Stephens had to settle for silver and France’s Hayri Simsek (2:55.71) took bronze.
In the first two lengths of the Women’s 200m Freestyle S5 Norway’s Sarah Louise Rung and Spain’s Teresa Perales were neck and neck, but on the third length, Rung (2:47.56) took the lead and powered to the finish. Perales (2:58.14) finished second and Israel’s Inbal Pezaro (3:00.63) took bronze.
Ukraine’s European-record-holder Viktor Smyrnov (2:28.02) swam a very close race in Men’s 200m Individual Medley SM11 with his teammate Ukraine’s Oleksandr Maschenko (2:28.28), but Smyrnov touched the end in time to beat his own European record and take gold. Spain’s three-time-European champion this year, Enhamed Enhamed (2:31.00), won bronze.
Germany’s world-record-holder Daniela Schulte (2:55.36) dominated the Women’s 200m Individual Medley SM11. Her main rival, Italy’s schoolgirl star Cecilia Camellini (3:09.52), who has been concentrating on passing her final school exams this year, came second. France’s Stephanie Douard (3:13.45) took bronze.
Possibly the closest race of the night was the Men’s 100m Freestyle S13. The stands were alive with horns and screaming fans as the three fastest swimmers touched down within a third of a second of each other. Belarus’ world-record-holder Dzmitry Salei (53.36) had the edge though, to win gold. Ukraine’s Oleksii Fedyna (53.62) won silver and Salei’s teammate Ihar Boki (53.91) went home with bronze.
Great Britain’s Rhiannon Henry (1:00.95) won the Women’s 100m Freestyle S13. Ukraine’s Iryna Bulashova (1:02.72) came second and Spain’s Marta Mart Gomez Batelli (1:07.86) took bronze.
Hungary’s Tamas Sors (59.23) bettered his own world record by 0.09 seconds to take gold in the Men’s 100m Butterfly S9. Italy’s Federico Morlacchi (1:00.37) swam a determined race, but came in second and Spain’s Jose Antonio Mari Alcaraz (1:01.23) took bronze.
Alcaraz’s teammate European-record-holder Serai Gascon (1:10.63) swam a determined race in the Women’s 100m Butterfly S9 to snatch gold from the British duo Stephanie Millward (1:11.62) and Claire Cashmore (1:12.07) who took silver and bronze respectively.
By the medley relays, Ukraine had consolidated its position by winning seven gold, four silver and three bronze medals. Spain and Britain had won four gold medals each, which meant Spain needed to win both relays to secure second place.
Russia (4:16.40) won the Men’s 400 Medley Relay 34 pt. Ukraine (4:17.53) trailed in second position, with Great Britain (4:25.17) just behind them.
It was the women’s British team (4:52.40) that shone in the Women’s 400 Medley Relay 34 pt, taking gold and securing a new world record. Russia (5:06.82) came second and Spain (5:08.70) took bronze.
On day seven of the IPC Swimming European Championships, Ukraine was still in the lead with 41 gold, 37 silver and 27 bronze medals. Britain was in second position with 27 golds and Spain was in third place with 25 golds.
Sunday will see the teams compete in the Open Water event.